The Ancient Greeks Alfred North Whitehead once suggested that all western philosophy is one long footnote to Plato. Although this widely cited comment is an unvarnished exaggeration, it is clear that the Ancient Greeks provided the foundation for much of what followed in the western intellectual tradition. If the ancients could not provide definitive answers to profound philosophical problems, they could at least pose questions that would confound thinkers throughout the centuries. The philosophical inquiry commenced with the pre-Socratics in the fifth and sixth centuries BCE.2